My ‘First Dates’ Experience: Harry Delaney

When I found out I was going to be on First Dates Ireland, I felt two things; nervous, because I was about to go on my first ever blind date, and, excited because I was going on my first ever blind date. My usual “dating” scene would be matching with someone on Tinder or seeing someone in a bar and taking it from there, but this time I was going in alone and unsure of the outcome. Would I like him? Would I hate him? Who knows?

The day I shot my episode was a Tuesday morning in August. I had to be there at 11AM, unsure of when I was going to actually have my date. When I got there I was greeted by two producers who gave me an itinerary of the afternoon. First, I signed in. Then I was taken outside the Gibson Hotel in the Point Village to shoot my “entry shots.”

As a viewer you are blissfully unaware of the amount of time and effort that goes into TV shows, and filming in general. I had to do ten different takes of me walking into the hotel, all from different angles. Then, the camera man followed me into the lift as I made my way to the restaurant.

After the filming was done, I was sent to a room with other male daters. I was brought by some assistants working for the television company shooting the show. I was assured that my date was somewhere in the building. In the room there were drinks and snacks. All of us were in the same position. Thinking back, I don’t actually remember any of their names but they were nice guys. We all shared our worst dating “horror” stories, among other things.

After a while, an assistant came in with the sound technician who mic-ed me up. He did a soundcheck to make sure everything sounded good. During this, the assistant reassured me that I was going to have a great date. This eased the nerves ever so slightly. Ten minutes later I was called. It was time.

This was it, the moment it had all come down to. I was ushered down the glass lift and sent to the First Dates restaurant, and of course I pushed the door when it was clearly labeled PULL.

My heart began to race as I was greeted by Mateo, the Maitre D’. He took my coat and guided me to the bar. As I walked I spotted the small webcam-like cameras and then, my date, sitting alone at the bar having a drink. It was clear both of us were nervous. However, nerves aside, we greeted each other, had a drink and then were brought to our table. From the beginning the date was going well, however I was unclear whether he could be a potential “love interest”, or just a friend.

Looking back on it now, we exchanged quite random and, sometimes, on my part, stupid conversations that may or may not have been to do with Drogheda, housing estates, and farmers – a part of the date that I think most viewers found to be funny. (Mostly funny because I looked like an idiot that had never gone past the M50).

For the rest of the date we shared other funny stories and talked about our hobbies and favourite films over dessert. Eton-mess if I remember correctly. Then, it was time. The bill had arrived and before I even had a chance to look at it, my date had swiped it up and immediately offered to pay the entire thing. Naturally, I politely declined because it is not something that I tend to do. I don’t think anyone should feel as though they have to pay the bill on a date, and most times I just split it.

I was hoping the same would be done here, but no. After a lengthy battle, I finally gave in and let him pay for the bill, despite the fact that I didn’t want to see him again, romantically speaking. When the date was over we were both sent to two different rooms and asked questions about how we felt the date had gone. Then, the dreaded moment arrived where we had to announce to each other whether or not we wanted to see each other again.

I broke the cardinal sin of First Dates and told my date to go first even though I was going to say no. Looking back on it now it was a bit of a d*ck move. After that we were sent on our way and awaited the airing date.

Overall, being on First Dates Ireland was an amazing experience, and being a media student myself, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see the “behind the scenes” of the filming and getting to learn a bit more about that line of work.

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